Monday 30 April 2018

Roland Ratzenberger - 24 Years On, by Ibrar Malik

Here is the latest guest blog posts by Ibrar Malik, about his forthcoming book 1994 – The Untold Story of a Tragic and Controversial F1 Season. This book will aim to offer much additional insight into this turbulent season and much else besides. You can find much more detail on this on his website at:

F1 is filled with irony, but the hand it dealt Roland Ratzenberger on 30th April 1994 was a particularly cruel blow - even by the sport's standards.

Ratzenberger was popular among other F1 drivers and drove to that fateful San Marino GP with JJ Lehto.

The Austrian, just weeks into his dream job, was attempting to qualify for his second Grand Prix with the new and underfunded Simtek team. During a fast lap he had a minor off-track excursion and instead of coming into the pits to check for damage he weaved the car, perhaps trying to judge for himself. Believing the front wing was OK, Ratzenberger carried onto another quick lap. That would prove to be a fatal error.

Sunday 29 April 2018

Azerbaijan GP Report - Baku pain

Baku eventually did its worst. A Lewis Hamilton victory really shouldn't seem incongruous - even with Mercedes incongruously going three rounds without a win - but that it did says a lot about this latest Azerbaijan Grand Prix. "Lady luck was on our side," as Lewis's engineer said in summing up. But this race takes a lot of summing up.

Lewis Hamilton incongruously came thorough to win
Photo: Pirelli Media
A lot like the Chinese Grand Prix last time out this one swung. As in China Sebastian Vettel appeared initially to have the race well under control out front with a drive redolent of his Red Bull pomp, including clearing the chasing Lewis by three seconds in the first lap of green flag racing.

From then it was nip and tuck for a while, and it appeared Lewis was the one to blink. On lap 22 he locked up egregiously and went down the turn 1 escape road then pitted immediately due to his flat-spots. It was another one-stopper as a default, and the new tyre effect on the soft compound wasn't up to much. Seb pitted himself nine laps later to stay ahead of Lewis comfortably, but in that seemingly inoffensive move he lost the race.

Saturday 28 April 2018

Interview with F1 commentator Ben Edwards about his Heritage FF1600 debut

At the inaugural Heritage FF1600 meeting at Donington Park last weekend there was a familiar face, or voice, among the drivers - that of F1 commentator Ben Edwards.

There's much more to Edwards than being a commentator - among other things he had a budding driving career of his own and he still races whenever he can. At Donington he was bang on the pace too.

For the FF1600website I spoke to him about his day, what attracted him to the Heritage series and what's next for him.

You can have a read here:

Friday 27 April 2018

What You Need to Know Before Purchasing Your First Motorcycle

Whenever people decide to purchase a motorcycle, they think of all the ways a bike can enrich their lives. From saving money on fuel to enriching their overall physical and mental health, they cannot wait to reap the rewards of the bike life. However, while motorcycle ownership does come with many unarguable benefits, it also comes with a great deal of responsibility. For this reason, one should never just jump into bike ownership - rather, they should make the proper considerations and shop smart. Before you purchase your first bike, there are a few things you need to consider if you want to make the most of your bike ownership experience:

By jimmyweee (GP Motorcycles Showroom) [CC BY 2.0
via Wikimedia Commons
1. Know Your Abilities 

Owning a motorcycle is not like riding a bike, and even if you were a champion BMX racer when you were a kid does not that you'll take well to a motorcycle. Novice bikers should purchase a first bike that is practical. Yes, that may be boring, but it's also safe. Steer clear of crotch rockets and anything with an engine larger than 600cc. Once you develop the right skills, you can upgrade.

2. Choose a Bike That Fits Your Body 

Bikes, like humans, come in all shapes and sizes, and just like the armored motorcycle jacket you're bound to purchase, your bike needs to fit you. When shopping for a bike, sit on each one to try it out for size. If possible, take it for a spin. You may discover that the chopper you thought you wanted is too heavy and that a newer cruiser is more your style.

3. Consider Your Needs 

Consider how you'll be using your bike them most. Will it be a commuter vehicle or a weekend warrior? Ultimately, your needs should dictate what type of bike you end up purchasing.

There are dozens of factors to consider before purchasing a bike, but your abilities, body size and needs are the top three. Once you pull the trigger, head on over to to shop their collection of affordable street jackets for men, unisex riding pants and motorcycle helmets for women.

Thursday 26 April 2018

Articles on WEC for Speed Chills

I'm very pleased to say that I'll be writing about the World Endurance Championship for Speed Chills.

By Wonker Wonker from London, United Kingdom (Rolling
Start) [CC BY 2.0 (
licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
And my two debut articles for the site are published for your reading pleasure.

With Fernando Alonso to make his Le Mans 24 Hours bow this year for Toyota I have looked at the times serving F1 drivers have won the famous race:

Here also for Speed Chills I preview the unique WEC 2018/19 Super Season, at the time of The Prologue a couple of weeks ago:

Speed Chills is the UK's largest provider of Private Camping at the Le Mans 24 hours and Le Mans Classic. Speed Chills is an official agency of the ACO, the organisers of the Le Mans 24 hours, and a member of ABTA.

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Ferrari Should Be Scrutinised For Ruining Raikkonen's Races

The FIA has put Ferrari under scrutiny for various reasons. We think, the FIA should also scrutinise Ferrari for ruining Kimi Raikkonen's races in 2018. Maybe for 2016 & 2017 too?

In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, Mithila and Kunal tell you why Daniel Ricciardo should leave Red Bull Racing. Has Mercedes lost out to Ferrari in the race to sign Ricciardo? Will Ferrari's stepchild treatment of Kimi Raikkonen make Ricciardo wary of signing with the Scuderia? Will Fernando Alonso's Formula 1 career go even more backwards if he signs up to race for Renault in 2019? Well, thank God that Minardi shut shop when it did! Tune in.

Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes and on audioBoom (RSS feed) for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Azerbaijan GP Betting Preview - That perilous stuff

Betting on F1 in 2018 is a perilous business. A towel can be thrown over the 'big three' teams Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. Adding to the confusion the Pirelli tyres are knife edge - this has manifested most noticeably with Mercedes dropping off the pace in Bahrain and China qualifying, but Merc insists others have had rubber related variation too such as Ferrari being off it in Melbourne.

Potentially madcap Baku presents problems,
and opportunities, for the gambler
Photo: Pirelli  Media
Adding further to the confusion the claustrophobic Baku street race for this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix is one that could more generally go either way. On the basis of its inaugural race two years ago it could be a soporific demonstration run. On the basis of last year's it could be raucous with incidents, safety cars and jumbles of the order aplenty. Demonstrating as much Daniel Ricciardo won it having been 17th after an early unscheduled stop while the unlikely Lance Stroll finished on the podium.

If it remains quiet then this weekend seems a good time for Mercedes to bounce back from its woes. It dominated in Baku last year on the stopwatch particularly in Lewis Hamilton's hands - he took pole by half a second and was over a second clear of the nearest non-Merc. Dodging acrobatically between walls is just his thing.

Bookies still seem to like him and Merc but with the recent failures their odds to prevail are a bit longer than usual and may be worth your wager - 5/4 for a Lewis pole and 13/10 for a Lewis win.

Monday 23 April 2018

Baku Preview: Contrast and potential

In 2016 F1 rocked up to a new street circuit in Baku, Azerbaijan, told to expect something "not like anything we've seen before in F1".

The Baku street circuit's challenges are unique
Photo: Pirelli Media
A lot of things have been seen before in F1 of course, but in fairness this track's challenges are somewhat detached from the modern norm. Not least in their contrasts.

A real downtown circuit. Plenty of near-to-hand walls. Much of the track claustrophobic with a twisty narrow section around the old city walls redolent of Mirabeau-Station Hairpin-Portiers at Monaco. Yet there's also a 2.1 km straight longer than anything at Monza. Appropriate for a city that likes to say it blends old and new; east and west...

Appropriately also on the basis of the two F1 races here things can go either way. We expected frolics aplenty in the first visit - safety cars and trips down narrow escape roads. Also an ultra generous DRS zone leaving even quick cars vulnerable to being overtaken, particularly on restarts. The GP2 rounds indeed gave us all of that.

Wednesday 18 April 2018

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Max Verstappen Should Get A Sports Psychologist

There we said it, well someone had to. We know Max Verstappen has been smug about working with a sports psychologist, but maybe it is time that he does? Some of the world's top athletes do so and Verstappen is on his journey to becoming one - this is one vital support system that he should definitely consider as we all wait for his temperament to come on par with his talent!

In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, Mithila and Kunal talk of Mercedes' multiple errors in the opening three rounds of 2018. Despite their shortcomings and lack of performance, how is it that Mercedes are still the favourites for the season? They celebrate Daniel Ricciardo's win while also hailing Red Bull Racing's impeccable team work. Also, would you rather that Formula 1 be a sport or a spectacle or both? Hear our views, tune in!

(Season 2018, Episode 13)

Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes and on audioBoom (RSS feed) for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour

Tuesday 17 April 2018

New Motorsport Week article: Why drivers still make a difference in Formula 1

Photo: Octane Photography
There are many common modern F1 laments. And common among them is that the driver doesn't make a difference, not like back in the day at any stretch.

In my latest for Motorsport Week I put the claim to the test.

Point one: do we overstate the extent that in previous eras drivers could make a difference over and above their equipment? Point two: even these days are there not plenty of examples of drivers making a difference? A driver's impact is not always in the ways we may expect either.

You can have a read of my thinking via this link:

David Leslie: 10 years on his legacy remains

Photo by Tony Harrison from Farnborough, UK (BTCC
David Leslie Brands Hatch 1996 Honda Accord) [CC BY
2.0 (
%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
You may be aware that I've become a regular contributor to the new FF1600website, a site covering various UK FF1600 series from paddocks, and which is looked after by Autosport Academy writers.

We've just put together a very nice article looking at David Leslie's legacy 10 years after his sad passing.

Leslie for many is most associated with being a regular BTCC race winner in the Super Touring era, yet he was about much more than that and his legacy is one that remains tangible in today's racing.

You can read all about it here:

Monday 16 April 2018

Tips To Maintain Your Vintage Car's Look

Most cars are meant to be practical for everyday use, but some purely exist just for pleasure. If you're the owner of a vintage car, then you understand. You also know that even though you don't drive your vintage car that often, it still requires routine maintenance to keep it in excellent condition. Whether you're a new owner or a veteran one, you can benefit from these tips on preserving your car's awesome look.

By Rept0n1x [CC BY-SA 3.0 (
licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (
copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons
Use Auto Covers

You may already know to use a cover, but not all auto covers are the same. Different varieties exist to serve different purposes. Lightweight covers are best for indoor use or transporting your car to a show. If your car stays outside, you need a heavy-duty, all-weather type for maximum protection. Get a custom cover for the right fit.

When inclement weather occurs, a car storage bag guards against flood damage. For long-term storage, a storage bubble is the safest option.

Regularly Care for the Exterior and Interior

Make time to regularly wash, wax, and detail the exterior and to wipe down the inside. Keep sunlight from harming the interior by using sun shades and other protective accessories. Always keep a quality cleaner on hand for unexpected stains.

Remember To Maintain Internal Components

When it comes to vintage cars, admirers care about more than just the paint job and leather seats. They also usually want to see what's under the hood and hear the powerful performance of your car. Avoid embarrassment (and costly damage) by undergoing regular maintenance, such as getting the oil changed or the engine inspected. Drive the car often enough to keep it running.

Boost your ability to keep your car attractive and working well by checking out California Car Cover. You can find the best indoor car cover, auto care products and kits, and more to help you achieve your car's perfect look.

Motor Verso F1 2018 Season Summary - Chinese Grand Prix review

As mentioned my Motor Verso race reviews this year will all be going into a single F1 2018 season summary article, and we'll be adding my view on each race after they happen one-by-one.

Photo: Pirelli Media
And my take on a thrilling Chinese Grand Prix has just been added. We entered the weekend wondering if we'd get confirmation on whether Ferrari or Mercedes are on top, but in the end Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull ambushed both of them.

You can read my latest thoughts here:

Do check out the Motor Verso site too; you'll find motoring news, car reviews and features - the team on the site carry out week-long test drives of the latest cars - as well as photos and videos of the machines.

Sunday 15 April 2018

Chinese GP Report - Bull run

There is a theme developing in this F1 season. We think we're getting one thing; something that looks very simple. But then suddenly we get something else entirely.

Daniel Ricciardo took an unlikely win
Photo: Octane Photography
If the opening two rounds left us confused on whether Ferrari or Mercedes was on top this year, China seemed initially to provide a coherent answer. Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel dominated once again. Seb led from pole and was controlling things in that way we got used to in his Red Bull pomp. Replete with the heavy sense of inevitability that the win would be his, which in this case would make it three from three. Yet come the end it seemed something from another age.

Actual Red Bull ambushed the race. The unlikely figure of Daniel Ricciardo took the win.

Valtteri Bottas's Mercedes was chasing in second just as he was in Bahrain yet Vettel was three seconds clear and looked to have everything foreseen. But then his day started to unravel. In the pitstop round Bottas got ahead with an undercut. He appeared out of range but the combination of a powerful new tyre effect, a mighty out-lap and a slightly tardy in-lap from Vettel and a similarly tardy stop from Ferrari combined to do the deed.

Saturday 14 April 2018

New AutoClassics article - How Gold Leaf sponsorship irreversibly changed Formula 1

Photo: Jim Culp/CC
Particularly proud of this one. We're 50 years on from the start proper of F1 sponsorship with the Gold Leaf Lotus.

And for AutoClassics I spoke to Gold Leaf's man in F1 at the time, George Hatfield, as well as Clive Chapman, son of Lotus kingpin Colin, to hear the fascinating tale of sponsorship's advent in F1. One that reaches far further than you might think.

You can have a read here:

Thursday 12 April 2018

Take a Time Warp Back to the Mid-1990s, by Ibrar Malik

This is the first of what will be several guest blog posts on Talking about F1 by Ibrar Malik, about his forthcoming book 1994 – The Untold Story of a Tragic and Controversial F1 Season. This book will aim to offer much additional insight into this turbulent season and much else besides. You can find much more detail on this on his website at:

Want to know what the internet looked like back then? There is one website that hasn't been modified since 1 October 1995…that of the Pacific Grand Prix team.

They weren't the greatest F1 team but Pacific's website certainly is memorable.

1994 was the Pacific and Simtek teams' debut F1 season. It proved a baptism of fire because it was one of the sport’s most turbulent years - as the upcoming book explains. After the Imola tragedies extensive, and some might say rushed, car modifications were imposed upon teams in the name of safety. Keith Wiggins, the Pacific team boss, summed up his thoughts at the time; "If my engines don’t bankrupt me, this stands a pretty good chance." Pedro Lamy suffered a massive testing accident which many claimed was a direct result of the FIA’s safety initiative. "That is self-evidently nonsense," retorted FIA president Max Mosley, meanwhile the Portuguese driver was lucky to have survive the crash, albeit with extensive injuries.

Hot Hatches – Where Are They Now? Infographic by All Car Leasing

Everyone at All Car Leasing has always been big fans of hot hatchbacks. So they've decided to take a look at a handful to see how many are now left on British roads, in the infographic below.

Old school hot hatches were always a favourite for modifying and installing Performance Parts. Many of these hot hatches gave birth to the petrol heads of today.

Hot Hatches – Where Are They Now? Infographic
by All Car Leasing

Hot Hatches Where Are They Now?

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Chinese GP Betting Preview - Chinese Chequers

It all looked so simple. The Melbourne season-opener seemed to confirm the pre-season testing grapevine without the most minor variation. Yes a mid-race Virtual Safety Car shuffled the end result, but that was happenstance.

The Bahrain round contained a major departure in
F1 form, but Mercedes could bounce back in China
Photo: Pirelli Media
Then the Bahrain round comes along next and dashes just about all of our certainties. It started at the front - Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton wasn't strolling the 2018 season after all as Ferrari plain out-paced the silver cars at the Sakhir circuit in qualifying at least. Then on race day Sebastian Vettel held them off to win again and make it two wins from two.

And so the big question as we head into round three in China is was Melbourne the unusual case, was Bahrain, or is the norm even something else entirely?

You can make a coherent case that Mercedes will bounce back this weekend. If the heat of Bahrain was Merc's problem then Shanghai will be much cooler. If the abrasive surface in Bahrain was Merc's problem then Shanghai's is much smoother. And even with all its problems Mercedes probably should still have won in Bahrain; it probably would have without Hamilton's grid penalty.

Inside Line F1 Podcast - The Perfect Advertisement Of Formula 1

If you have family and friends who are on-the-fence fans of Formula 1, the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix could go a long way into dropping them onto our side of the fence. The nail-biting and edge-of-the-seat action from Bahrain was definitely the perfect advertisement that Formula 1 could ask for.

In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, Mithila and Kunal rejoice the season's first of many back-to-back races. They applaud Liberty Media for ensuring that there were no adverse reactions from their meeting with the teams in Bahrain (where they discussed the future of Formula 1). Also, while a brutal way to find out a system issue, Ferrari's pit error robbed us of a Kimi Raikkonen vs. Lewis Hamilton fight for the podium. They tell you why Valtteri Bottas should have definitely tried harder to overtake Sebastian Vettel and how McLaren are actually the luckiest team on the grid right now.

Will the cooler conditions in Shanghai bring Mercedes back into focus, and if so, will their 'party mode' be hotly discussed yet again? Or will Ferrari have answers to Mercedes' pace in the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix too? Tune in!

(Season 2018, Episode 12)

Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes and on audioBoom (RSS feed) for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour

Monday 9 April 2018

Shanghai Preview: Great brawl of China

Much about the Chinese Grand Prix feels big. Not just due to the vast host country, the Shanghai International Circuit set the standards on dimensions too. The gleaming futuristic architecture towers and spreads. Paddock occupants are sure they walk far further in the Shanghai weekend than any other.

Most things about the Chinese round are big
By P - originally posted to Flickr as Image_7, CC BY 2.0,
The race's genesis is big too. A Government-backed Grand Prix in a coming economy and geopolitical power.

The track has much of the typical Tilke layout. A bit-of-everything - quick, medium and slow corners feature. A long straight - underlining the theme of vastness it's reckoned to be about the longest in F1 - and a big stop at the end plotted with overtaking in mind. Trademark Tilke long fast esses elsewhere.

And heading into this Chinese Grand Prix the chief considerations are appropriately big. In Australia's season-opener things looked simple even with Sebastian Vettel's win - that 2018 was going to be a stroll for Mercedes and especially Lewis Hamilton as testing had indicated; as Mercedes had dominated habitually in recent years indeed. In Bahrain though things turned. Ferrari left Mercedes behind in qualifying and held it off in the race.

Motor Verso F1 2018 Season Summary - Bahrain Grand Prix review

By Habeed Hameed (2014 Formula 1
 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix) [CC BY-SA
 2.0 (
by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
As mentioned we have a slightly different format for our Motor Verso race reviews this year. All is going into a single super duper F1 2018 season summary article. In that you'll find my take on pre-season expectations, other content and details about the year, and we'll be adding my view on each race after they happen one-by-one.

And my take on the Bahrain race has now been added. A race that reminded us that F1 never is predictable. All of a sudden it appears Mercedes isn't having the walkover this year that we expected. We got a thrilling finish too.

You can read my latest thoughts here:

Do check out the Motor Verso site too; you'll find motoring news, car reviews and features - the team on the site carry out week-long test drives of the latest cars - as well as photos and videos of the machines.

Sunday 8 April 2018

Bahrain GP Report - Changed days

To think that just over two weeks ago after Melbourne's season-opening qualifying session we were bracing ourselves for a year of Mercedes domination. Somehow Ferrari, and Sebastian Vettel, has won the campaign's opening two rounds. The first time the Scuderia has done so since its pomp of 2004.

Against advance expectations Sebastian Vettel
made it two wins from two
Photo: Octane Photography
It's not been quite as simple as those days of demonstration runs in red. The Melbourne win owed much to external events. This time in Bahrain though it all of a sudden was down to pace, mixed on race day with some seat of the pants strategy. F1 whatever else happens never loses its capacity to surprise.

Quite where the Ferrari potency came from isn't clear, but Bahrain is a very different challenge in temperature and layout to Australia; the Italian team also had worked on its troublesome front end between rounds. Add in F1's capacity for voodoo and the Ferrari was the car to beat here.

It locked out the front row of the grid, Vettel ahead, and looked hard to stop. A recent F1 truism is that the usually haughty Mercedes is less happy relatively on softer tyre compounds, as well as when the temperatures go up. The combination of these in Bahrain led to it struggling with overheating the supersoft rubber in qualifying. Adding to its woe, gearbox damage from Melbourne meant Lewis Hamilton had to add five to his starting slot from the fourth place he managed in quali. But of course Mercedes is never to be counted out, and it sought to make a virtue of its vices.

Friday 6 April 2018

Inside Line F1 Podcast - The Arjun Maini Podcast Interview

Formula 2, or the 'Battle of the Junior Drivers' as we call it, will have an Indian racer line-up on the grid for the first-time ever. Arjun Maini, who has been backed by two Formula 1 teams before even stepping into a Formula 1 car, will be starting his Motorsport career's biggest challenge (yet!) this weekend in Bahrain.

Maini is currently Haas F1 Team's development driver and in this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, Mithila and Kunal wonder if Maini would be itching to get into the Haas F1 car given its 2018 form. Apart from his Formula 1 ambitions, we focus on the present - his preparations, targets and expectations from his maiden Formula 2 season. There's 'Team Arjun' that is working silently behind the scenes to propel Maini into Formula 1 and we are definitely signing up for the ride. Are you?

Tune in!

(Season 2018, Episode 11)

Subscribe to the Inside Line F1 Podcast on iTunes and on audioBoom (RSS feed) for your weekly dose of Formula 1 humour\

Inside Line F1 Podcast - Mercedes To Join Ferrari's F1 Quit Threats In Bahrain?

Liberty Media will present a draft of their future plans for the sport and business of Formula 1 to the teams on the Friday of the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix. History has shown that such discussions usually end up with Ferrari threatening to quit Formula 1. But this time, we wonder if Mercedes will join Ferrari in Bahrain. After all in the recent past, Mercedes have been repeating Ferrari's quit threats as though they were their own.

In this week's episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, Mithila and Kunal hope that the racing will keep us as interested as the sport's politics do. Also, has Robert Kubica missed an BIG opportunity by letting go of his WEC drive for 2018? Will Fernando Alonso have a fall-out with McLaren owing to pay-cut issues? If so, the driver silly season for 2019 will heat up immensely. Finally, do remember to hear our 'What Wolff Said This Week' segment; we're excited by the comments it has already generated. Tune in!

(Season 2018, Episode 10)

Thursday 5 April 2018

The GPBox partners with Talking About F1

We are delighted to announce that will be working with The GPBox on our post F1 race coverage for all races in the Formula 1 2018 season.

Starting with the Bahrain GP this weekend my post race reports will feature on The GPBox every Monday after a race weekend to bring you a round up of the race weekend antics. And the Australian Race round up will also be available on The GPBox shortly.

The GPBox is an online marketplace for Motorsport gifts, art, real car parts, collectables and memorabilia. A platform not only for buying and selling Motorsport pieces, but to engage a community of like minded people. They have created blogs, forums and groups, all to encourage interaction from users. They want you to use The GPBox, not just because you need to, but because you want to!

So if you are looking for a unique piece of Motorsport Memorabilia - from F1 art and real F1 car parts to Lewis Hamilton memorabilia - or have you every wondered where you can sell your F1 memorabilia, The GPBox is the place for you. Do check their site out here:

And you can read more detail about our partnership here:

Wednesday 4 April 2018

Bahrain GP Betting Preview - Silver below the surface

We know the importance of digging deeper. It is true that Sebastian Vettel won in Australia two weeks ago, and that he won the Bahrain round last year. So, on the surface, does that make him a slam dunk to win again in Bahrain this weekend? No, not quite.

Sebastian Vettel won in Melbourne, but the smart money
remains with Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes
Photo: Octane Photography
Vettel was clear throughout the Melbourne curtain-raiser that even with his success the Ferrari isn't handling to his liking and the red machine has a way to go to catch Mercedes. The on-track running said that as well, aside from the impact of Seb's sizeable slab of fortune from a Virtual Safety Car appearance midway through the race.

The odds available on Seb at 7/2 to win in Bahrain aren't hideous, but perhaps the better value is with his team-mate this time. Kimi Raikkonen was Ferrari's pace-setter in Melbourne, his gentle style seems better for meeting the current Ferrari halfway. He has a good record at this Sakhir track too - he's finished fourth here four times in the last six. The 11/4 available for him to finish on the podium again this time looks very tempting. As is the 12/1 for a Kimi special of bagging fastest lap.

Monday 2 April 2018

Sakhir Preview: Desert mirage

Typical Tilke. It is a phrase that for better and worse has entered the modern F1 vocabulary, reflecting that architect Hermann of that ilk has for two decades been responsible almost exclusively for the sport's new circuits. The Bahrain track that we visit this weekend embodies the phrase more than most.

Bahrain's Sakhir circuit is a 'Typical Tilke' venue
By Dave Jefferys -
26252296810/in/album-72157664943710804/, CC BY-SA 2.0,
Built from nothing on a vast expanse (in this case, desert). All clean lines and gleaming architecture. With a sense that every one of Bernie's numerous exacting demands have been met.

Yet the place has some of the typical Tilke flipside too. The round represented a large geographical stride into a new world, but this has been amid agonising over whether F1 neglected core support in the same movement; indeed F1's new owners appear minded to row back on this a little. While this particular round has had controversy attached for more weighty reasons still.

The Sakhir track is typical Tilke in its layout as well. Long straights book-ended by tight corners designed to promote overtaking, with a dash of variation and a quick esses elsewhere. Its triangular layout is like a flattened-out Red Bull Ring. However also like the Red Bull Ring it despite everything tends to produce entertaining races. And F1 could do with one.